By Tenzin Sangmo
International students at UBC. Nick Procaylo_Vancouver Sun
DHARAMSHALA, September 3: Justin Trudeau’s government promised to curb more than half of the 572,000 international students to control universities from relying too much on the high tuition fees paid by foreign students, reports Chatham Daily News
The Liberal government announced a new international-student strategy two months ahead of the October election, amidst rising diplomatic tensions and opinion polls by Nanos and others, showing 90 per cent of Canadians don’t trust China’s leaders.
The Canadian public in recent times has risen up to active political influence spearheaded by Confucius institutes in its universities with new laws enacted to contain these institutes.
The Liberal government in Canada allowed its foreign students number to roughly double since 2015 with the current international demographic ratio with more than half of offshore students coming from China (143,000) and increasingly India (173,000).
In order to adjust the current international demographic ratio, the government has promised to change the foreign-student ratio by spending $30 million to recruit more young people from countries such as Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia, Ukraine, France and Turkey.
Salvatore Babones, associate professor at the University of Sydney and an American sociologist with expertise in the areas of Chinese and American economy and society warned this month that post-secondary institutions in his country and elsewhere risk “catastrophic” financial shortfalls by relying so heavily on students from China, who make up about 40 per cent of the total in Australia.
The professor who wrote a report, ‘The China Student Boom and the Risk it Poses to Australian Universities,’ said the ‘diversification strategy’ is intended to dilute the risk that an adverse event, for example, a suspension in the convertibility of the yuan or a major recession in India — that might suddenly result in a revenue shortfall at universities.
A flurry of news reports in North America maintain that some students from China are attempting to intimidate people with roots in either Tibet or protest-filled Hong Kong.
In the University of British Columbia (UBC), Chinese nationals comprise about 40 per cent of the 153,000 foreign students at all levels in the province. In the recent school year, UBC enrolled 6,281 students with Chinese citizenship, taking in $184 million as fees, which are three to four times higher than that of domestic students.
Despite the financial vulnerabilities associated with Canadian educational institutions leaning on offshore nationals from China, India and elsewhere, the Liberal government has made welcoming more foreign students a major theme in its election campaign.
Canada and Australia are two of the world’s most sought-after destinations for international students from China.